Michael Sukkar MP

Federal Member for Deakin
Shadow Minister for Social Services
Shadow Minister for the NDIS
Shadow Minister for Housing
Shadow Minister for Homelessness
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Stronger foreign investment regime comes into force

The Australian Government’s robust new foreign investment regime comes into force today, providing stronger enforcement and a better resourced system with clearer rules for foreign investors, Michael Sukkar, Federal Member for Deakin, said today.

“Foreign investment rules need to be strong, effective and enforceable. The changes taking effect today provide greater compliance powers to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and introduce strict new penalties for those caught breaking the rules,” Michael said.

“Foreign investors who have breached the residential real estate rules had until yesterday [30 November 2015] to voluntarily come forward under the reduced penalty period. From today any investors caught in breach of the rules will face severe penalties.

“The ATO has taken over full responsibility for enforcing residential real estate purchases by foreign citizens and existing criminal penalties have been increased to $135,000 or three years’ imprisonment, or both for individuals; and up to $675,000 for companies.

“New civil penalties ensuring people don’t profit from breaking the rules, also come into effect today. These include forfeiting any capital gains made on divestment of a property, fines for third parties who knowingly assist foreign investors to break the rules and stopping foreign investors who fail to comply with the foreign investment rules profiting from doing so.

“The Government has also introduced application fees so the cost of the system is no longer borne by the Australian taxpayer. From today fees will be levied on foreign investment applications.

“The Government is also continuing to work collaboratively with the States and Territories to ensure that sales of critical infrastructure to foreign investors are properly scrutinised.

“We are committed to strengthening the system so that Deakin residents can have confidence foreign investment will not be contrary to the national interest,” Michael said.

For more information on the changes visit www.firb.gov.au